Currently, more than 5.500 survivors of gender-based violence are registered in the Catalan public Employment Service database as job seekers. This public agency, known as SOC (Catalonia Occupation Service) acts as an employment intermediary, putting people in search of work in contact with companies that need workers.
But how do they address the specific needs of survivors of violence?
Developing a training course for professionals working with women with special demands was a direct demand of Catalan public employment service, to compensate their lack of specialization in dealing with cases of survivors of intimate partner violence. The information about the survivors registered in the Catalan employment service database is under protection and only the director and one person from each department are allowed to check it; since the number of registered survivors is high, there was a huge need to establish a strategy to deal with this matter.
To better address the needs of the public employment service, Fundació Surt developed specific training for professionals divided in four modules, taught face-to-face and online:
- Understanding gender inequalities
- Legal framework, labour market and gender
- Network of services and resources
- Intervention protocol
Many professionals were interested in the training, and it was decided that three professionals from each department would attend the course, in a total of 160 participants in all Catalonia. Professionals were really active on the online platform, achieved levels of excellence and efficiency during the activities, and are willing to make significant changes in the way they support and address the needs of survivors of violence. After concluding the course, two participants of each office will act as promoters and will ensure that the survivor’s accompaniment includes gender mainstreaming.
Due to the success of this initiative, Fundació Surt and the Catalan public employment service signed a bilateral coordination and referral protocol, to offer comprehensive care to all survivors. It was decided that, for example, if professionals of the Catalan public employment service detect that a woman has difficulties in finding or maintaining a job, she would receive psychological support from Surt, either individually or in a group. On the other hand, Fundació Surt has offered to consultancy and support the Catalan public employment service to better handle specific situations, such as improving the work conditions in feminized sectors, designed tailor-made training courses for women and introducing work-family reconciliation measures.
What are the plans for the future?
According to Spanish legislation, companies receive benefits from the Government when they hire survivors of intimate partner violence, but some sensitized companies are starting to move forward and embrace more challenges than just discounts on their taxes. The Catalan employment service is committed to engage more companies through awareness-raising campaigns, so that they start working more closely with public administrations to support survivors in their empowerment paths, across all sectors. This kind of active cooperation among public agencies, private companies and not-for-profit actors is essential to make progress in the full guarantee of the rights of survivors, and Fundació Surt will contribute to keep moving in this direction.